This recipe is probably 50 years old - Mom made it for us, and now I make it for our kids - they love these bars. Enjoy!

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Ingredients

20
Original recipe yields 20 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.

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  • In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar until smooth. Stir in the molasses and egg. Dissolve the baking soda in warm coffee; stir into the molasses mixture. Combine the flour, salt, cinnamon and cloves; Gradually stir into the batter. Mix in raisins. Form dough into 4 long strips lengthwise on the cookie sheets.

  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheets then cut each strip into 2 inch bars while still warm.

Nutrition Facts

202 calories; 5.6 g total fat; 9 mg cholesterol; 129 mg sodium. 36.4 g carbohydrates; 2.5 g protein; Full Nutrition

Reviews (76)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
07/06/2011
These cookies are delicious! Five tips I learned after baking them a few times: 1) Hermits are an antique cookie dating back to colonial times. White flour was not available until the late 1800s, so these taste wonderful w/ the original whole wheat as long as you get fresh flour. Whole wheat flour should not be bitter. If it is, it is rancid and should be replaced w/ a different brand. 2) The problem w/ the sticky texture is caused by the egg, probably a recent addition to the recipe. I made it w/o the egg & the dough was easier to handle, & results superb. 3) Don't mix the soda w/ the coffe. Put it w/ the dry ingredients so it retains its leavening power. 4) A tasty variation is to sub frozen oj concentrate & grated orange zest for the coffee. This version needs less sugar. 5) It can be made as a single 1/3" layer instead of strips, cooked a few minutes more, & sliced while warm, if you'd rather not fiddle w/ the dough. Also I agree w/ reviewers who recommend increasing the spices. These end up the tastiest "healthy" cookie I've ever had. Read More
(134)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
03/08/2013
This was OK. I made it for a high school bake sale because the reviews were so good but then I was disappointed. If I had to describe it without the raisins the texture reminds me of the walls of a gingerbread house we make at Christmas. As for the taste it tastes like a graham cracker but with a lot less sugar and a lot less crispy. This is a soft cookie but crispy on edges. I drizzled some white almond bark on top and woh did it make a difference. It made a good presentation and actually brought out the flavors of the cookie. Read More
(6)
86 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 59
  • 4 star values: 18
  • 3 star values: 6
  • 2 star values: 3
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
07/06/2011
These cookies are delicious! Five tips I learned after baking them a few times: 1) Hermits are an antique cookie dating back to colonial times. White flour was not available until the late 1800s, so these taste wonderful w/ the original whole wheat as long as you get fresh flour. Whole wheat flour should not be bitter. If it is, it is rancid and should be replaced w/ a different brand. 2) The problem w/ the sticky texture is caused by the egg, probably a recent addition to the recipe. I made it w/o the egg & the dough was easier to handle, & results superb. 3) Don't mix the soda w/ the coffe. Put it w/ the dry ingredients so it retains its leavening power. 4) A tasty variation is to sub frozen oj concentrate & grated orange zest for the coffee. This version needs less sugar. 5) It can be made as a single 1/3" layer instead of strips, cooked a few minutes more, & sliced while warm, if you'd rather not fiddle w/ the dough. Also I agree w/ reviewers who recommend increasing the spices. These end up the tastiest "healthy" cookie I've ever had. Read More
(134)
Rating: 5 stars
07/06/2011
These cookies are delicious! Five tips I learned after baking them a few times: 1) Hermits are an antique cookie dating back to colonial times. White flour was not available until the late 1800s, so these taste wonderful w/ the original whole wheat as long as you get fresh flour. Whole wheat flour should not be bitter. If it is, it is rancid and should be replaced w/ a different brand. 2) The problem w/ the sticky texture is caused by the egg, probably a recent addition to the recipe. I made it w/o the egg & the dough was easier to handle, & results superb. 3) Don't mix the soda w/ the coffe. Put it w/ the dry ingredients so it retains its leavening power. 4) A tasty variation is to sub frozen oj concentrate & grated orange zest for the coffee. This version needs less sugar. 5) It can be made as a single 1/3" layer instead of strips, cooked a few minutes more, & sliced while warm, if you'd rather not fiddle w/ the dough. Also I agree w/ reviewers who recommend increasing the spices. These end up the tastiest "healthy" cookie I've ever had. Read More
(134)
Rating: 5 stars
02/02/2004
These were very good-- I'd just make a few changes to make them even better! Add about 3/4 cups extra flour to make sure the dough is "dough-y" enough and chill for half an hour before trying to shape it. Make sure the coffee is strong so you get the flavor and I added some ginger to add a kick to it. Also these cookies spread and puff up so make sure there's about 2 inches between the long strips on the cookie sheet-- I'd use two separate sheets. Read More
(124)
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Rating: 5 stars
07/06/2008
Much to my father's dismay our local bakery outlet store (Freihofer's) discontinued making their Hermit Bar Cookies. I've tried several recipes and this comes the closest to the original. When I made them as bars they never baked to the right consistency so I tried them as drop cookies and they're perfect. (12 minutes per batch same temperature - I also chopped the 1 cup raisins for better consistency). This will be a keeper in our family now for generations! Read More
(58)
Rating: 5 stars
12/21/2003
Thank you so very much for a recipe that really brings me back to my childhood. My mother used to buy these cookies at for me the Danvers Port Bakery in Massachusetts as a treat! These are even better! I love love love them! What more can I say! Are these cookies East coast thing? I asked many people if they had heard of them (I live in California now) and they had never heard of them. Read More
(32)
Rating: 5 stars
02/28/2003
WOW! These are FANTASTIC!!! I love hermits but I've never made them with coffee before. Holy cow did these receive a great amount of praise from the 20 people I served a double batch to. They were all gone. A definate keeper!!! Read More
(30)
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Rating: 5 stars
12/05/2005
These are wonderful. My husband used to get them in the north end. A part of Boston Ma. as a child with his parents. The coffee is what makes the flavor. Like a rich spice cake. He is so happy I found this recipe. He does want more raisin's next time Read More
(25)
Rating: 5 stars
11/21/2008
This is the real thing I sugest you add more raisins.and eggwash the top (1 egg 1 tablespoon of milk whipped together with a fork before bakeing )use a pizza cutter to cut these also refriderate the dough for 1 hour it is easyer to handie roll out on a flourered cutting board Read More
(23)
Rating: 5 stars
11/28/2007
This recipe took me back to my hometown of New Bedford MA where people even KNEW what hermits were. This is a great recipe. This is what I grew up with! The dough was a little mushy to work with and I made the bars too fat and short but next time might chill it a little to make it easier to work with. I live in GA now and brought some in to fellow NE Yankees who also LOVED it. Easy to make aside from the sloppy dough. This is a KEEPER. Read More
(20)
Rating: 4 stars
12/09/2006
Different than any cookie I've made before but nice. I don't generally like strong molasses flavors but the coffee (I made it extra strong almost like espresso) gives it an entirely different twist. I added 1c chocolate chips and I like the combination. Might be nice with nuts as well. The dough was really soft and ended up spreading into essentially one big cookie in the oven but it cooked OK without burning; next time I'll add the extra flour someone else suggested. It does seem like a cookie that would be tasty with ginger and orange zest as well. Read More
(15)
Rating: 3 stars
03/08/2013
This was OK. I made it for a high school bake sale because the reviews were so good but then I was disappointed. If I had to describe it without the raisins the texture reminds me of the walls of a gingerbread house we make at Christmas. As for the taste it tastes like a graham cracker but with a lot less sugar and a lot less crispy. This is a soft cookie but crispy on edges. I drizzled some white almond bark on top and woh did it make a difference. It made a good presentation and actually brought out the flavors of the cookie. Read More
(6)